When to hold, when to fold
While all the focus is properly on the hostages held by savage Mohammedans in Afghanistan, some interesting and hopeful things are happening within Korea itself.
Dear Leader Kim may be on the verge of quietly folding under a number of internal and external pressures. For one thing, he seems to be ill; rumors of heart attacks and long absences from public view. For another, he may be feeling the same shrinking sensation that the IRA and Qaddafi felt after 9/11. When faced with the unparalleled nastiness of Osama, other autocrats and terrorists find it hard to continue ... they must be thinking approximately: "Do I look like that? Do I really want to be remembered for looking like that? And if so, can I afford to outdo Osama?"
A new carrot-and-stick project from the South may give Dear Ronery Boy a way to save face by turning his country toward capitalism and modernity without immediately losing control. Much like the Chinese model.
From Chosunilbo:...Ex-prime minister and a presidential hopeful Lee Hae-chan said, "North Korea hopes to establish industrial parks in Nampo, Wonsan, Shinuiju and Najin, and tourism projects in Mt. Baekdu, Mt. Myohyang and Mt. Guwol." He added it was “highly likely” that the two Koreas will agree on large-scale economic cooperation during their planned summit, which would lead to “an economic boom” in the North.
In a lecture on Wednesday, President Roh Moo-hyun’s special advisor promised the summit “will be a watershed that will end the economic division of the two Koreas and help revive the North Korean economy.”
In April last year, the Presidential Committee ... finished formulating an economic initiative for the Korean Peninsula. Its report to the president envisages developing five economic zones: a Kaesong (North)-Paju (South) zone, a Mt. Kumgang (North)-Mt. Seorak (South) zone, a Shinuiju (North)-Dandong (China) zone, and a Najin (North)-Khasan (Russia) zone.
Those crossover zones are especially interesting, offering a built-in 'gate' for learning and culture to China and the South. As Eastern Europe demonstrated, opening those cultural gates leads inevitably to collapse of totalitarian regimes. Result is not Young Democracy, just [comparatively!] decent and normal countries.
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To be clear: The carrot is lots of money, food and petroleum. The stick is the requirement to open these economic zones.